Tzippy wandered around the Jerusalem mall, where she had planned to meet her daughter. She was not really in the mood for this excursion, but her daughter had insisted on it.
She had been unemployed for the last few months, with no end in sight. In addition, she and her husband were still trying to come to terms with the financial loss of most of their life savings. Tzippy spent her days searching for jobs and sending out resumes, with no response. She needed a change of scenery, even if that just meant a trip to the mall for lunch with her married daughter and baby.
Tzippy could not help but feel sad when she saw other smiling shoppers making their purchases. Two of her children were having birthdays soon, and she wasn’t sure how much she could afford to spend on gifts for them. “Perhaps,” she thought, “I could just forgo gift-giving this year. Surely my children would understand.” The thought did not cheer her.
She stood next to an open booth, looking around for her daughter. Suddenly, a woman approached with what looked to be a sales receipt in her outstretched hand.
“Please don’t be scared of me,” she said. “Everyone I approached so far wouldn’t hear me out and just walked away.”
The woman told Tzippy that she had received a gift from a store in the mall. When she went to return it, she discovered they would not refund her money. Instead, they told her to pick something else out of equal value. She did not have the patience or time to do this, and felt overwhelmed by the need to make a quick decision. She did not live in Israel and was leaving Yerushalayim that day. The credit slip had to be used within 30 days. By then, she would have returned home to England.
At first, Tzippy was suspicious of this woman’s motives.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t see myself buying anything in the mall in the near future, so there would be no reason for me to buy your credit slip from you.”
The woman smiled and put out her hand again. “No, you misunderstood. I just want someone else to use this credit slip and enjoy it. You would be doing me a favor by taking it and picking up something nice.”
Tzippy could not believe her good fortune. In her hand was a credit slip for over 300 shekels! She suddenly felt very hopeful. She ran to the store and went shopping. She bought gifts for her family. There was nothing she wanted for herself – only the chance to make her family happy.
A while later, smiling and swinging a large bag filled with wrapped gifts, she met her daughter. Tzippy told her how Hashem had performed a special chesed for her, enabling her to feel good about herself for the first time in months. Her heavy hopelessness had lifted. She felt that her prayers for a good future for herself and her family were starting to be answered.
Hashem’s salvation can come k’heref ayin (in the blink of an eye), like a credit slip thrust into her hand by a stranger – just when she needed it most.